Update: 12.02.2018

In a handful of fertile soil, there are more individual organisms than the total number of human beings that have ever existed.

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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

IUSS Alert 92 (February 2013)

Election IUSS Division and Commission Officers 2014-2018

We have started the election process for the 4 Division and 44 Commission chairs and vice chairs. This is your chance to become actively involved in the IUSS and shape its future in the years 2014 to 2018. We are now seeking nominations for all positions, and a description of Division Chairs and Commission chairs and vice chairs is given here. Please send in your application before 31st March 2013. Your application should includethe position, 100 word bio and homepage URL if available. It should be sent to:

   Positions in Division 1: Prof. Karl Stahr at   Karl.Stahr@uni-hohenheim.de

   Positions in Division 2: Prof. Martin Gerzabek  martin.gerzabek@boku.ac.at

   Positions in Division 3: Prof. Rainer Horn at  rhorn@soils.uni-kiel.de

   Positions in Division 4: Prof. Mary Beth Kirkham   mbk@ksu.edu

The timeline is as follows:

   February 2013                - call for nominations

   May 2013                        - a list of candidates and their bios

   1 August 2013                - the electronic election system will open and announced for voting

   31st October 2013        - voting closes

  1st January 2014           - announcement new IUSS Officers

We look forward receiving your application and candidacy.



IUSS Strategic Plan – give us your thoughts

Soil is undoubtedly back on the global research and policy agenda. IUSS wishes to make sure it is positioned for its role in this upcoming increased phase of activity. A draft Strategic Planning has been published in IUSS Bulletin 121 (December 2012 – see www.iuss.org) that attempts to enhance and optimize our activities over the next decade or so. The plan has been considered by the IUSS Executive Committee and by Council. We are now seeking feedback on the plan from the wider membership. So please peruse the plan and send your ideas, suggestions and emendations to  Alex.mcBratney@sydney.edu.au by 1 April 2013. We are hoping to endorse the plan in 2013 for implementation in 2014.



2013 History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Soil Science Newsletter

The 2013 edition of the History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Soil Science Newsletter is now available atwww.iuss.org. This year’s issue includes news from Germany and Sri Lanka, abstracts from 2012 symposia at SSSA and EGU, a listing of new publications in soil history, philosophy, and sociology, book reviews, and two short historical articles. News, short articles, book reviews, etc. for next year’s issue are welcomed at any time and can be sent to Eric Brevik at  Eric.Brevik@dickinsonstate.edu



Soil information apps

CSIRO Australia launched SoilMapp which taps into the available soil information from Australia’s national soil databases. You can find out about the likely types of soil near you or you can look anywhere across the country. Main features: SoilMapp for iPad enables you to: learn about the likely soil types on your property; view maps, photographs, satellite images, tables and graphs of data about nearby soils; uncover your soil’s physical and chemical characteristics, including acidity (pH), soil carbon, available water storage, salinity and erodibility; get soil information to put into the farm computer model APSIM, a model that can help with management decisions on crops and project likely crop yields; more info click here Such information and apps are also available for the USA (click here or here) and for the UK (click here).


Land for Life Award

Are you or someone you know doing great work to restore land or promote soil's natural health?   Then you should apply for the Land for Life Award. The Land for Life Award will recognize innovation and excellence in sustainable land management, particularly collaborative efforts that promote soil health and benefit people in the drylands. Three  winners will be selected by an expert jury which will grant awards from a total prize fund of up to USD 100,000. Nominations are welcome from individuals, businesses, research and academic institutions, local governments, journalists and civil society organizations. The deadline for applications is 15 March 2013. To apply: http://www.unccd.int/en/programmes/Event-and-campaigns/LandForLife Note: The application form and background information is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.


ICSU on Scientific Freedom

The Principle of the Universality (freedom and responsibility) of Science: The free and responsible practice of science is fundamental to scientific advancement and human and environmental well-being. Such practice, in all its aspects, requires freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists, as well as equitable access to data, information, and other resources for research. It requires responsibility at all levels to carry out and communicate scientific work with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency, recognising its benefits and possible harms. In advocating the free and responsible practice of science, the International Council for Science (ICSU) promotes equitable opportunities for access to science and its benefits, and opposes discrimination based on such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or age. For that purpose, you may use the Blog at www.icsu.org/freedom-responsibility/cfrsblog/academic-freedom-in-jeopardy


Experts for first Science Committee of the Future Earth programme

On behalf of the Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability (an "Alliance" comprising ICSU, ISSC, the Belmont Forum, UNEP, UNESCO, UNU and WMO as an observer), we are writing to invite you to submit nominations for experts to serve on the first Science Committee of the Future Earth programme. Future Earth is a new 10-year programme on integrated Earth system research for global sustainability, established by the Alliance. The goal of Future Earth is to develop the knowledge required for societies worldwide to face challenges posed by global environmental change and to identify opportunities for a transition to global sustainability. For reference, we are attaching here two short documents summarizing the overall research framework and institutional design for the new programme; for more information on Future Earth, please visit: www.icsu.org/future-earth


Soil Survey Journal issues a call for submission of manuscripts

The Journal is addressing the interests of soil scientists working in the field of soil survey and mapping. It should also be of interest to a broader community of environmental scientists requiring specific soil information. This initiative was proposed  by a group of South African soil scientists and supported by many leading soil scientists world-wide to broaden publication of and access to soil information. However, it’s only the authors that can make such this work. Soil Survey Journal is an on-line open access publication hosted by Stellenbosch University, South Africa.  Publication is free of charge and the operation of the journal is supported by volunteer effort of editors and referees.  Currently we expect to publish at least two issues per year. The sections will span from Field Notes (short communications), Views and Reviews (Theoretical , position and discussion papers) to articles (Concise experimental work) and Reports (non-peer-reviewed section targeting publication of existing soil survey reports at any level of detail).To get acquainted with the journal policies, editorial team, submission requirements and procedures, please visit the journal homepage http://sosj.journals.ac.za/pub Dr. Andrei Rozanov, editor: Soil Survey Journal



First GlobalSoilMap Conference, Orléans, France, 7-9 0ctober 2013. GlobalSoilMap (www.globalsoilmap.net) is a project supported by the International Union of Soil Sciences and many of the world’s leading research and soil science universities and agencies. GlobalSoilMap is hosting a conference a primary focus of which is to inform the soil science and cognate communities and widen the participation of interested parties/entities, including fellow digital soil mappers and soil scientists generally end-users, modellers (hydrological, ecological, climatic, economic, sociological…). in bringing the local information to a global audience to solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Potential users of the information from the soil science and wider community are welcome to participate.https://colloque.inra.fr/GlobalSoilMap-2013 For any question mail to: Dominique.Arrouays@orleans.inra.fr 


Utilization and protection of halophytes and salt-affected landscapes, IUSS Commission 3.6 conference, 4-6 September 2013, Kecskemét, Hungary. The conference will be held in the House of Nature, Kecskemét (Hungary) on 4-6th September 2013. The title of the event is "Utilization and protection of halophytes and salt-affected landscapes". It is supported by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (EU FA 0901 COST program), the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS), Hungarian Academy of Sciences together with the Kiskunság National Park Directorate. Theme: The main objective of the conference is to foster continued discussion among researchers all over the world investigating issues of salt-affected soils (SAS) and saline/sodic landscapes (lagoons, lakes, marshlands, grasslands, etc.) from the viewpoints of soil science, plant physiology, ecology and nature protection. The sessions will cover topics as the ecology and protection of salt-affected landscapes; new results on salt-affected landscapes including spatiotemporal changes, mapping and relationship with groundwater properties, and research related to sustainable agriculture on salt-affected soils and sustainable use of halophyte plants. Detailed conference topics are available on: http://members.iif.hu/tot3700/salinityconferencehungary2013.html The event will consist of several plenary sessions followed by a poster presentation section. In addition, a field trip is also included, during which the participants will visit the typical saline/sodic natural and agricultural landscapes. Convener: Tibor Tóth, Institute for Soil Sciences and Agricultural Chemistry, Centre for Agricultural Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences ( tibor@rissac.hu) Venue: House of Nature, Kiskunság National Park, 19 Liszt Ferenc Street, Kecskemét, Hungary H-6000 Contacts: András Szabó ( andras.szabo@rissac.hu), Kitti Balog ( kitti.balog@rissac.hu)


Lysimeter-sap flow workshop. Munich/Freising 18- 22 March 2013. Lysimeters are an efficient tool for water-balance studies in agriculture, forestry and other environmental settings. In particular, they make it possible to quantify actual evaporation from a bare soil or actual evapotranspiration from a soil covered by vegetation. Evapotranspiration and plant water use needs to be quantified with precision techniques. Innovative instrumentation manufactured now make it possible to precisely quantify plant water use. Sap Flow Meter quantifies plant water use whereas the weighing lysimeters quantify herb water use and soil evaporation. Weighing lysimeters assist in validating the water use data against gravimetric measurements of transpiration. We want to invite researchers to get a deep view in the different cases of lysimeter and sap flow use, as well in practical training. We plan to excavate a soil monolith and give a training on different probes. http://ugt-online.de/fileadmin/_temp_/Lysimeter-Sapflow_Workshop.pdf contact: Dr.Sascha Reth, sascha.reth@ugt-online.de


Soils in Space and Time from 30.09.-04.10.2013 in Ulm (Germany)- Conference of all Commissions and Working Groups of the International Union of Soil Science (IUSS) Division 1 and Commission 2.4. This is the first divisional conference – everybody is encouraged to use the given options. "Soils in Space and Time" is one of the key issues documenting the variability of the pedosphere. Division I aims to bring disciplines like soil morphology, micromorphology, soil genesis, soil geography, soil classification, a number of further working groups, as well as the new active topics paleopedology and pedometrics together for using synergetic effects. Beside the different symposia during the scientific program there is the opportunity to attend to mostly unseen interesting excusions. For further information visit our homepage (https://iuss-division1.uni-hohenheim.de/) or send an e-mail to 


11th International Conference of The East and Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies. 

Indonesia as one of the member country of ESAFS takes opportunity as the host of the upcoming meeting. The conference is schedule for every two years. The 11th International Conference of The East and Southeast Asia Federation of Soil Science Societies (ESAFS) will be held on 21-24 October 2013 at IPB International Conventional Center, Bogor, Indonesia.  The conference theme is Land for sustaining food and energy security, with 7 session theme cover almost all aspect in soil science and environment. We expected at least 300 international and local participant will attend this conference. We also arrange the field trip around West Java to see soil profile of Andisol and Mollisol and peatland management in Riau Province, the largest peat areas in Asia. ESAFS shall aim at promoting researches in soil and related sciences and disseminating the acquired knowledge and technology for the benefit of the member societies in the region of East and Southeast Asia. By doing so, the Federation shall contribute to the sustainable development of the region through harmonization of agricultural production and environmental protection. The Federation shall also aim at promoting the effective participation of member societies and of individual soil scientist of the region in the work of the International Union of Soil Sciences. At recent, there are 12 member countries of ESAFS including: Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Bangladesh, Philippines, Vietnam, Srilanka, India, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Since core members shall consist of any scientific societies concerned with soil science, plant nutrition and fertilizer management and technology in any countries in East and Southeast Asia where rice-based cropping system is an important component of agricultural production system. However, the scope of the point of interest will expanding based on country members needed. The Federation welcomes the societies which are located outside of the region but interested in the activities of the Federation as the associate members for promoting the objectives of ESAFS together. http://www.esafs11ina.org/


2nd Brazilian Soil Physics Meeting (BSPM - 2013) will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 06 - 10th May 2013. The main purpose of this event is to bring together soil physicists and researchers from different backgrounds to contribute with current demands in soil physics research. The green economy and the reconnaissance of the importance to preserve soil and water have been discussed in many interdisciplinary forums in the world, which invokes the necessity to characterize the soil and understand the behavior of water in this medium. Soil scientists have been demanded to contribute in interdisciplinary studies about the interactions in the continuum soil- plant- atmosphere, soil management practices and indicators of soil quality. The more intensity occurrence of natural disasters, as landslides and thunderstorm address the importance to integrate the soil characteristics in predictive models. This meeting will discuss the use of innovative sensors, different approaches for the characterization of soil physical quality indicators, methods of data analysis, the challenge to create useful and friendly data base and models of physical processes in the vadose zone. The natural variability of soils in the space and time will be presented in different approaches. For more information see the website: www.bspm2013.org


The 21st International Symposium on Environmental Biogeochemistry sponsored by the International Society for Environmental Biogeochemistry (ISEB) will be held on Oct 13-18, 2013 in Wuhan, China. The theme of the conference is "Global Challenges in Environmental Biogeochemistry". The symposium will provide a forum for professors, research scientists, engineers and students from a range of fields including environmental science, microbiology, chemistry, soil science, geoscience, limnology, ecology, marine and atmospheric sciences. A special issue of the selected papers will be published in Geomicrobiology Journal. One-day mid-conference field excursion and four-day post-conference tours will be arranged. Deadlines for abstract submission and early registration are May 30, 2013 and Jul 30, 2013, respectively. For further infomation and more details please visit the conference website http://iseb21.hzau.edu.cn


17th Conference of the International Soil Conservation Organization (ISCO) 2013 will be held in Medellín (Colombia) from 08-12 july 2013. From 04-06 July 2013, and from 13-15 july there will be organized field tours in the Mountanious Coffee Growing Area and in the Eastern Plains of Colombia, respectivelly. The main topics of the Conference will be: Physical, Chemical, Biological and Hydrological Processes related to Land Degradation and Catastrophic Effects; Effects of Land Use Changes and Mining on Soil and Water Degradation; Relations of Climate Changes, Carbon Sequestration and Biofuel Production on Soil Degradation. There will be keynotes presentations by: Richard Arnold (USA), Roy Sidle (USA), Ildefonso Pla (Spain), Mostafa Errahj (Morocco), Samir El-Swaify (USA), José Rubio (Spain), Jorge Delgado (USA). The deadline for abstract reception has been extended to 28/02/2013. More information: info@iscocolombia2013.comhttp://iscocolombia2013.com


Third Global Workshop on Proximal Soil Sensing will be held in Potsdam, 26-29 May 2013. The workshop brings together researchers from various disciplines, including soil science, agricultural engineering, geophysics, spectroscopy, agronomy, spatial statistics, as well as commercial entities involved in the development and use of proximal sensors. The focus of the meeting will be on:  Multi-sensor systems, Data fusion and Application of proximal soil sensing data. Please see the website for details and to submit your abstract and register: www.atb-potsdam.de/gwpss2013   The workshop organisers are offering a seminar on ‘Computation in proximal soil sensing with R’.  This will be free of charge for participants at the GWPSS2013. For reservation please send an e-mail to gwpss2013@atb-potsdam.de   and enter “R seminar” as subject.   

The 6th International Conference on Cryopedology will be held in Cracow, Poland, on August 25-29. It is organized by the Institute of Geography and Spatial Management (Jagiellonian University), the IUSS Working Group Cryosols and the Polish Society of Soil Science. The aim of the conference is to encompass the whole range of research associated with soils affected by frost, either at present or in the past. The conference program includes a two-day field trip to the Carpathians. All details can be found atwww.geo.uj.edu.pl/cryosols2013

New Publications

Know Soil, Know Life Edited by David L. Lindbo, Deb A. Kozlowski, and Clay Robinson. Soil Science Society of America, 2012. 206 pages. ISBN-13: 978-89118-954-1. Did you ever consider that with no soil there would be no life? Know Soil, Know Life will introduce you to an amazing world—the world beneath your feet. Soil is the foundation our natural living world depends on, the substance of life, the critical zone of the earth. Soil is not dirt. SOIL IS LIFE! High school or undergraduate students will find Know Soil, Know Life is an easily accessible resource. But this book is for all ages. Everyone interested in being more environmentally conscious—the urban dweller, the young naturalist, the home gardener—can learn about the diversity of soils and their importance in our environment.

InPaC-S: Participatory Knowledge Integration on Indicators of Soil Quality – Methodological Guide. By: Barrios E., Coutinho H.L.C., Medeiros C.A.B.  2012.  World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Embrapa, CIAT.Nairobi, 178pp. Socio-ecological systems can greatly benefit from integrative approaches that combine formal and informal knowledge to address current sustainability problems associated with global change. The increasing attention paid to local knowledge in recent years results from the recognition that the knowledge of people who have been closely interacting with their environment for a long time can contribute many insights about the sustainable management of natural resources. Increased concern about soil management as a key determinant of sustainability in agricultural landscapes has created great demand for early warning indicators to monitor changes in soil quality, and their impact in the provision of ecosystem services, as affected by land use change and agricultural intensification. The InPaC-S methodological guide was designed to foster local innovation platforms by facilitating bottom up approaches that integrate local knowledge into the soil management decision making processes and strengthen the relevance, credibility and legitimacy dimensions required for the increased adoption of recommended best management practices. Participatory methodologies used to develop a “hybrid” knowledge base, combining local and scientific knowledge, reflect an effort to understand the complexity of the land management decision making. http://www.worldagroforestry.org/downloads/publications/PDFs/B17459.PDF

Landschappen van Nederland - Geologie, bodem en landgebruik (in Dutch). By: A.G. Jongmans, M.W. van den Berg, M.P.W. Sonneveld, G.J.W.C. Peek, R.M. van den Berg van Saparoea. Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2013, 942 pages. These two books discuss the relationships between geology, climate and climate change, landscape elements, soils and historical geography and land use for the Netherlands. The books discuss these relationships in 6 chapters containing over a 1000 illustrations and is an up-to-date account of Dutch soils and its relation to its geology, landscape and land use.

Soil health management- productivity-sustainability-resource management. Edited by Dr HLS Tandon. 2013. ISBN: 81-85116-66-0. Fertiliser Development and Consultation Organisation, 204 Bhanot Corner, Pamposh Enclave, New Delhi 110048 , India pp.204+ xii. Price per copy US$60 inclusive of airmail delivery ( fdco@airtelmail.in, tandonhls@gmail.com, www.tandontech.net). Soil health or its more technical term soil quality is basically what determines a soil' capacity and capability to produce and sustain increasing levels of crop and animal production without adverse effect on the soil, life forms and various components of the environment. This multi-author book on Soil Health Management, edited by Dr Tandon provides a multi-faceted, research-based and practically-usable account of the subject. Its eight chapters have been structured into basic, theme-based and technology transfer. The basic chapters deal with soil physical, chemical and biological health. These are followed by chapters on large-scale specific land use systems such as the highly intensive rice-wheat system, the vast acid soils and the equally extensive rainfed-dryland production systems. These are then followed by a chapter on environmental aspects of soil health management and one describing a pilot project on transfer of proven soil health practices to farmers' fields. This book brings out that successful soil health management requires integration of important physical, chemical and biological indicators/attributes of soil health. The information provided is meant to create wider and deeper appreciation for soil health care, factors which can harm soil health and also measures which can enhance soil health.


Indonesian Peatland, the Explanation, Term, Definition and the Characteristics of Peatsoil (in Bahasa Indonesia). ICALRD, December 2012. This books is about peatland, the definition, explanation, term and its characteristic. The book written by senior researchers of ICALRD and ISRI. The problems encountered in the use of peat include constraints: biophysical, carbon emissions, socio-economic, and its land use. Utilization of peatlands will continue to be controversy if there is no clarity about the meaning and definition of peatlands. Understanding and definition is important because for regions with extensive areas of peatlands, they are as an asset that can be managed to support the development of agriculture and regional development. The book is expected to be a reference for stakeholders in the use, management and development of peatlands in the future. And hopefully this book could enrich the knowledge in Indonesia, especially for agricutural land resource. More information here http://bbsdlp.litbang.deptan.go.id/en/index.php


Developments in Soil Salinity Assessment and Reclamation: Innovative Thinking and Use of Marginal Soil and Water Resources in Irrigated Agriculture. By: Shabbir A. Shahid, Mahmud Abdelfattah, Faisal Taha (Editors). The book covers advances in soil salinity mapping and monitoring, management and reclamation of salt-affected soils, offers agricultural improvements for use of marginal quality water in crop production, salt-tolerance mechanisms in plants and more, and expertly developed and organized to present the latest advances and science on soil salinity in arid and semi-arid regions. This important addition to the technical literature of ecology is a storehouse of information on marginal soils and waters from around the world. Soil salinity is considered the most important component of land degradation in arid and semi-arid regions, it is dynamic, spreading globally in over 100 countries and covering more than one billion hectares. It is causing significant losses in irrigated agriculture due to poor understanding and management. There have been significant developments in technologies to assess, map and monitor soil salinization spatially and temporally using remote sensing, geographical information system, geophysical methods and modeling, from regional, national to farm levels. The papers assembled here cover topics such as technological advances in soil salinity mapping and monitoring, management and reclamation of salt-affected soils, use of marginal quality water for crop production, salt-tolerance mechanisms in plants, biosaline agriculture and agroforestry, microbiological interventions for marginal soils, opportunities and challenges in using marginal waters, and soil and water management in irrigated agriculture.

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